1: No matter what happens finish the story. 99% of people that start writing a story don’t finish it. Decide now you are going to be in the 1% club. You are going to be one of the people that gets the story done no matter what.
2: Think a lot about your story. Write some short descriptions of scenes you know are going to be happening in the story. Some people like to plot out their whole story ahead of time. They write out a short description of each scene that will be happening in the story. Some people like to wing it. I wing it in the beginning but at the end of each scene I ask myself—What happens next? And then as I get ideas for future scenes I always jot them done. About halfway done I figure out what scenes I need to get to the end of the books. I always know what’s going to happen in the first chapter and the last. But for me since I am not the type that plots a lot the middle is a big adventure. It’s easier being the type of writer that plots the whole story out. You have to try both ways to see what type of writer you are.
3: Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself that it has to be great. The first book I wrote took me 8 months to write. It wasn’t so great. But I learned a lot writing it and even more going over and editing and polishing it. Each book you write you get better. Think of this as a long fun journey where in the end you will be a rocken writer with a lot of practice. Stop thinking you should be a great writer now. Yes I’m sure there are some people that just start writing and it’s wonderful. Most the writers I know have to work long and hard and have to write a lot to get good.
4: Get to know your characters. Figure out what they look like, find the perfect name for them. Write out some back story for them. Do an interview with them. What is their favorite ice cream? What were their parents like? Loving? Mean? The deeper you get into your characters the more they become real to you and the better you can write them.
5. Just get the first draft of the story done. Don’t keep going over that first chapter trying to get it perfect. Just write out as many scenes as you can and anytime you get stuck just put a note (write scene where she falls in well) and come back and write it later. Often when I get a book done I have a dozen scenes I have to go back and write out. Scenes at the time I had no clear vision for.
6: When you first start writing you think you only write when you are inspired. It’s not true. You have to write often when you don’t feel like it. There are times I write out scenes because I’m trying to get pages in for my weekly page count goal and I’m sure what I’m writing is total crap. I am positive I should stop but I keep myself going until I get so many pages in. The funny thing is often when I go back and read those pages they are the best pages I’ve written. So yes, writing is not always fun. It’s challenging, hard, and impossible sometimes. Sometimes you just pound out pages. But remember you can go back and edit and polish things. You can’t edit a blank story.
7: I often hear people say — I ran out of ideas for the story so I had to stop writing it. If that’s true then you didn’t truly invest yourself in the story. You started writing a story you thought people wanted to read. Not one that you wanted to read and write. Find a story that really entertains you. One that you can daydream about. One that you can pour your heart and mind into. Write it as best you can and get to the end. And then see what you have. If it sucks then edit and polish it as best you can and move onto the next story. Awakening was the 7th story I wrote. It took me that many times until I finally figured out how to write really in depth characters.
8: When you get your story all done you must spend a lot of time going over it and editing and polishing it. Many people don’t want to put the work in and do the edits. It’s a big mistake. You learn more about writing when you edit your book then you do when you write it. And yes sometimes it takes almost as much time to edit as it did to write it. No one said this would be easy. But if you want to be a writer you can’t take any short cuts. You have to put in the work.
Some practical tips –
Try writing out your conversations between characters just one line after the other. Don’t worry about putting in dialogue tags and descriptions until after. Sometimes writing dialogue that way helps the dialogue be more natural.
Try to put yourself in your characters head so that you are seeing the scenes from their eyes. What are they seeing, smelling, touching?
When you write an action scene or a scary scene and your heart isn’t pounding when you are writing it then the readers won’t be when they read it. Yes you feel the emotions of the characters as you are writing them.